Braves Digest: 4/8

<U><B>New York 8, Atlanta 10</B><BR></U> <B>Johnny Estrada</B> was 3-for-5 with a career-high four RBI as the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets, 10-8, Thursday on the 30th Anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th homerun. <BR> <BR> <B><U>Minor Leagues:</B><BR></U> <B>Travis Smith</B> strong for Richmond; Rome rolls to comeback win behind; <B>Jeff Francouer</B> and <B>Wes Timmons</B> produce only two hits in Pelican loss; <B>Andy Marte</B> injured in Greenville's loss to Chattanooga.

Braves Hang On Against Mets

For the second night in a row, Atlanta bats hammered New York pitching - only to have New York bats do exactly the same.

Johnny Estrada went 3-for-4 -- tying a career high for hits -- and Marcus Giles had four hits leading Atlanta past the New York Mets for the second night in a row 10-8. The Braves have 33 hits in the past two games, including eight doubles.

Ty Wigginton hit a two-run homer and drove in a career-high four runs for the short-handed Mets, who lost scheduled starter Scott Erickson before he even took the mound. The right-hander missed his first NL start after he strained a hamstring 11 minutes into his warmup.

John Smoltz pitched a shaky ninth inning to pick up the save for Atlanta - giving up a two run home run to Mike Cameron to lead off the inning then retired Jason Phillips on a groundout before striking out Ricky Gutierrez and Shane Spencer.

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E 
NY Mets 0 2 0 0 2 1 2 0 1 8 13 3 
Atlanta « 0 0 0 2 3 4 1 0 x 10 15 1  
WP: W.Cunnane(1-0) LP: J.Franco(0-1) 
SV: J.Smoltz (1)
HR: NYM- M.Cameron (2), T.Wigginton (1) 
ATL- None 

Richmond Braves Blank Bats, 2-0

Travis Smith and four relievers combined on a two-hitter as the Richmond Braves blanked the visiting Louisville Bats 2-0 at The Diamond Thursday afternoon.

Richmond's Smith (1-0) started the game, striking out five of the first seven batters he faced on way to registering eight strikeouts. He allowed just one hit on the afternoon as Jacob Cruz singled in the first inning. Tim Drew, Mike Romano, Sean Fesh, and Matt Whiteside followed Smith with four innings of one-hit baseball. Whiteside pitched a scoreless ninth for the save as Richmond pitchers combined to strikeout 15 Louisville hitters.

The Braves plated both of their runs in the third inning, scoring on a fielder's choice off the bat of Ryan Langerhans and a Tim Hummel error at third base. Matt Belisle (0-1) took the loss for Louisville, surrendering two runs on three hits and a walk over six innings. Joe DePastino, Russell Branyan, and Nick Green recorded Richmond's three hits.

The Bats and the Braves conclude their two-game series tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. at The Diamond

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E 
Louisville 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 
Richmond « 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 X 2 3 0 
WP: T. Smith (1-0) LP: M. Belisle (0-1) 
SV: M. Whiteside (1)
HR: LOU- None
RMD- None 

Rome Braves Sting Jackets, 6-5

The Rome Braves opened the 2004 season with a 6-5 come from behind victory over the Augusta Greenjackets Thursday night at State Mutual Stadium before a sellout crowd of 5,105.

Augusta took advantage of two Rome errors in the third to take an early 4-0 lead. Brandon Moss led off the inning with a single up the middle. Salvador Paniagua was then hit by a pitch off Braves starter Bryan Digby, advancing Moss to second. Zach Borowiak bunted a single down the third base line. Digby then committed a throwing error allowing Moss and Paniagua to score and Borowiak to move to second. Robert Evans singled up the middle and then moved to second on the throw that scored Borowiak. Mickey Hall grounded out to second allowing Evans to advance to third. After Jeff Ontiveros walked, Scott White singled to left field scoring Evans.

Rome cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third. Ardley Jansen led off the inning with a single to left center. Jansen advanced to third on a double to right field by Cole Barthel. Jansen scored and Barthel moved to third on a fielder's choice by Dean White. Josh Burrus followed with a fielder's choice scoring Barthel.

The Braves added another run in the fourth. Matt Esquivel singled through the right side and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Greenjackets starter Kyle Jackson. A Carlos Guzman single moved Esquivel to third while Barthel followed with a liner up the middle scoring Esquivel.

The Greenjackets added their final run in the seventh. Ignacio Suarez doubled to left center and scored on a Mickey Hall single to right field.

Rome staged a dramatic come back in the bottom of the ninth. Jansen led off the inning with a single up the middle and advanced to second on an infield hit by Barthel. A ground out by Dean White moved Jansen to third and Barthel to second. Burrus dropped a hit into left field scoring Jansen and moving Barthel to third. Martin Prado followed with a double to right scoring Barthel and moving Burrus to third. Augusta reliever Kevin Ool intentionally walked Steven Doetsch to load the bases. Matt Esquivel delivered the win with a line-drive single down the left field line scoring Burrus.

Ricardo Rodriguez gets the win for Rome (1-0) while Kevin Ool takes the loss for Augusta (0-1).

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E 
Augusta 0 0 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 7 1 
Rome « 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 6 15 4 
WP: R.Rodriguez (1-0) LP: K.Ool (0-1)
AUG- None 
ROM- None 

Pelicans Drop Home Opener

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their 2004 home opener against the Wilmington Blue Rocks in front of more than 5,000 fans at Coastal Federal Field this evening. Anthony Lerew (0-1) got the opening night start for the Pelicans, but lasted just 4.0 innings as he allowed five runs on seven hits.

The Blue Rocks got right on the board in the top of the first inning with a pair of runs, and followed that up with two more in the second and a final run in the third. Damaso Espino paced the Blue Rocks with three hits, including two doubles, and 2 RBI.

After Lerew departed following his four innings of work, he was relieved by the combination of Manny Acosta, Efigenio Peralta and Glenn Tucker. Jeff Francoeur and Wesley Timmons each had one hit, combining for the only two the Pelicans had on the evening.

Devon Lowery (1-0) went six full innings for the Blue Rocks, allowing just one hit wile striking out two. Trae McGill, Steve Chamberlain and Ryan Braun each pitched one of the remaining three innings, holding the Pelicans to just one more hit before recording the final out of the game.

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E 
Wilmington « 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 9 0 
Myrtle Beach 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 
WP: D. Lowery (1-0) LP: A. Lerew (0-1)
HR: WIL- None MYR- None 

G-Braves Drop Slugfest To Open Season

Chattanooga engineered an eight-run, sixth-inning rally and then held off the Greenville Braves, 9-8 Thursday night at BellSouth Park in the Southern League opener for both clubs. Atlanta Braves outfielder Eli Marrero, added to Greenville's roster on a major league injury rehabilitation assignment, went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI.

After Chattanooga tallied a run in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out RBI double by Ed Encarnacion, the Braves would claim the lead by scoring four times in the third inning. Adam Stern launched a two-out solo home run, just the fifth of his professional career to tie the game at one. James Jurries then doubled off Lookouts starter Daylan Childress. Marrerro followed with his first home of the night, a high liner inside the left field foul pole to put the Braves up 3-1. Brayan Pena added an RBI single to make it 4-1.

Lefthander Macay McBride was outstanding in his "AA" debut for Greenville. The Georgia native and former first-round pick allowed just one run over five innings. However, the Lookouts pounded the Braves bullpen in the sixth to claim the lead. Against reliever Zach Miner (L, 0-1), Chattanooga opened the frame with six conscutive hits, including a game-tying three-run homer by former G-Brave Travis Wilson. Kenny Kelly then chased Miner with an RBI single, giving the Lookouts a 5-4 lead. Chattanooga went on to score three more times in the inning to widen the margin to 9-4.

Greenville battled back, with Stern's RBI triple highlighting a two-run seventh and a two-run homer by Marrero coming in the ninth.

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